Growing Up in Single-Parent Families: An Illustration from Taiwanese Families

  • En-Ling PanEmail author
  • Kuei-Hsiu Lin
Part of the Quality of Life in Asia book series (QLAS, volume 2)


In East Asia, the number of single-parent families is steadily increasing, yet little is known about the development and well-being of Asian youth who are growing up in them. In addition, the salience of patrilineal structure within East Asian countries is incorporated into the construction of various types of single-parent families (parental death vs. parental divorce). Using data from the Taiwan Youth Project, we explored the well-being of young adults who were raised by single parents and examined whether family socioeconomic status and family relations mediated the negative impact of single-parent families on these children. Results showed that in keeping with paternal normative expectations, it was likely that widowed single fathers and divorced single fathers would live in their natal families. Most single mothers lived with their children. Very few divorced mothers returned to live with their natal parents. Moreover, particular types of single-parent families predicted subsequent outcomes as children reached young adulthood. Specifically, children who grew up in single-parent families that resulted from the death of a parent were more likely to experience economic disadvantages, and children with divorced parents reported the lowest levels of psychological well-being. Family relations that were measured by cumulative parental conflict and family satisfaction mediated the associations between parental divorce and young adults’ psychological outcomes. The results highlighted three main points: that living arrangements for single parents were associated with patrilineal cultures, different types of single-parent families might account for variations in children’s outcomes, and positive family relations were important for children’s well-being.


Young Adulthood Single Mother Divorce Rate Parental Divorce Family Satisfaction 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Human Development and Family StudiesNational Taiwan Normal UniversityTaipeiTaiwan
  2. 2.Department of SociologyNational Taipei UniversityTaipeiTaiwan

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